Saturday, 27 April 2013

Harworth Colliery 2 v Westella Hanson 2 - CMFL North

Saturday 27th April 2013
at the Recreation Ground, Scrooby Road, Bircotes
Central Midlands League (North)
Harworth Colliery (1) 2
Tom Pick 40, 85
Westella Hanson (1) 2
Chris Spinks 21, James Atkinson 86
Admission £3, Programme £1
Harworth Colliery:
Mark Latham, Jordan Hardman, Paul Burns, David Cornthwaite, Simon Brewster, Chris Belshaw, Jonny Bownes, Gaz Sides, Billy Ball, Matt Smith, Tom Pick
Subs - Tom Padgett, Andy Webb, Brendan Wilson
Westella Hanson:
Jody Barford, Rob Dodson, Jack Walters  Andy Bagshaw, James Atkinson, Matt Fyvie, Alex Wood, Bobby Stevenson, Muke Pecora, Chris Spinks, Mike Thompson
Subs - Dave Gorden, Dave Clement, Tom Dent 
Last weekend, Harworth lost 4-3 at Easington United, after being 3-0 ahead at one point, while Westella arrived at Scrooby Road on the back of a eight game unbeaten run.
Earlier this month, Westella emphatically thrashed Harworth 1-0 at Bishop Burton.
That is to say, they played the Colliery lads off the park that afternoon and deserved far more than a single goal victory in the end, on a day when Mark Latham pulled off some top quality stops, to give the margin of defeat a respectable look, that the all round team performance probably didn't warrant.
I think it would be fair to say, that thus far, though there are obviously teams who have more strength in depth, resources and quality individuals who can turn a game single handedly, Westella are, without a doubt in my mind, the best side Harworth have faced, both technically and team work ethic wise, all season.
When the two sides met a few weeks ago, Westella moved the ball around quickly and precisely in the last third, looking to make gaps to exploit, for their danger men like Mikle Pecora and Chris Spinks to take advantage of.
So, this afternoon, Harworth were well aware of what to expect, how to contain that threat and who to look out for.
If you defend too deeply against today's East Riding based visitors, they'll try picking you to pieces around your own goalmouth, so a more advanced back-line ought to deal with that problem, while forcing them into resorting to long range pops at goal, instead of playing their usual game.
Right? Err ... no actually.
The game started well for Harworth, who were seeing plenty of the ball, but on 21 minutes, they conceded possession cheaply from a free kick in the middle of the park and a long ball over the top of their defence for Chris Spinks to run on to from out on the right flank, saw him put the ball past Mark Latham with an unstoppable, quality strike.
Harworth didn't let the set back knock them out of their stride too much and they took the game to Westella for the remainder of the first half, looking for an equaliser.
Neither side could afford to lose this afternoon as they battle it out with Clay Cross Town for third spot and thie game turned out to be a compelling contest, with no quarter being given.
Harworth deserved lot of credit for sticking to their task given that there were several notable absentees today and a couple of players drafted into the first team duty from the reserves.
Tom Pick nodded home the goal that levelled things up from a tight angle, from Jordan Hardman's right wing cross, fjust ive minutes before the break.
Maeningly the game was nicely balanced on a knife edge when half time arrived.
HT - Harworth 1 v Westella 1
Jody Barford denies Tom Pick.
Being as diplomatic as I possibly can, the final result hinged on the second half performance of three teams. Namely: the home side, the visitors and the match officials.
All three of those teams did their level best to put on a decent game of football, but all three made mistakes along the way, in the process of doing so ... and some of those errors had more of a bearing on the full time score than others.
Westella came out of the blocks like an express train after the restart, but Harworth just about contained them and worked hard to gain the initiative.
Tom Pick was putting in a busy shift around the visitors goal ... and when he went to ground having been nudged in the back in a crowded six yard box, it looked like a clear penalty from where I was standing, i.e. behind the goal that Harworth were attacking ... but the match officials can only award decisions when they get a clear view of any given incident and that one would've been hard to spot amid a scrum of players.
Tom Pick makes it 2-1 to Harworth on 85 minutes
There was another similar push in Pick's back a few minutes later, but that was probably classed as one of those 'get up and get on with it', two players coming together type collisions. Pick had the last laugh however, escaping the attentions of his marker and firing the ball home from 15 yards with just five minutes to go.
It looked as if Harworth were going to claim three hard earned points today, but this game still had a couple of stings left in its tail.
The home side were in front for less than 60 seconds, before James Atkinson knocked home an equaliser at the other end.
Colliery's keeper Mark Latham stayed down after the goal, which was a worry.
It transpired that he'd taken a stray raised boot in his face in the build up, moments before Westella scored.
I didn't see that clearly first hand, but I guess it was up to the officials at that end to decide whether a head injury warranted stopping play immediately, or calling for treatment to be given once the visitors were celebrating their goal.
In essence, it's all down to split second timing.
Paul Latham was clearly incensed by the incident ... but before anybody says that the players dad is bound to be biased, just let me state; he is actually a fairly harsh critic of his son's performances at times and would've called the incident *exactly* as he saw it, i.e. not through rose tinted glasses.
Sometimes he possibly requires bi-focals ;-) (don't we all) but Paul is never shy about giving people his side of things straight, to the point and as he honestly views them.
A 2-2 draw, as a conclusion to this end to end game, that had seen one team and then the other taking the initiative to go all out to claim the result, was probably a fair result in the cold light of day, once the dust from the firm but fair pitch settles and the finger pointing ceases.
But, that said, Harworth could and should have had an opportunity to clinch the victory right at the death.
In the last minute of the 90, the referee failed to point to the penalty spot, for an infringement that took place a good foot or so inside the area.
The referees assistant was straight in line with the blatant foul, but his sight line would've blocked due to Gaz Sides and Jonny Bownes surging into the box in tandem with the visitors full back in their slip stream, but how on earth the referee missed it ... hmm, I'll shurrup, we all make honest mistakes at work, don't we!?
Would Pick have scored the spot kick, claimed his hat trick and won the day for Harworth?
I guess we'll never know.
And the Colliery will just have to dust themselves down and accept that possibly, these twists of fate and occasional debatable decisions, balance themselves out over the course of the season.
Much as I'm having to say that through gritted teeth right now, in the direct aftermath of the game.
FT - Harworth 2 v Westella 2
Right, who's got some tweezers, to get these bloody splinters out of a certain fence sitting bloggers big bum ... any takers?
Oi! You two ... come back!